Complying with the Extended CDC Eviction Moratorium
On March 29, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended its federal eviction moratorium order through June 30, 2021. In response, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a joint statement announcing that they will increase scrutiny of eviction practices during this time.
“Staff at both agencies will be monitoring and investigating eviction practices, particularly by major multistate landlords, eviction management services, and private equity firms, to ensure that they are complying with the law.” — CFPB, FTC Joint Statement
It is now more important than ever that property management companies ensure eviction practices across all communities are compliant with consumer protection and fair housing laws. Compliance requires companies to establish compliant policies at the corporate level and effectively communicate and train on those policies to the employees responsible for carrying them out. Employees at all locations must understand:
- What notification to residents is required
- Which residents are covered by the moratorium
- What documentation residents must provide to be eligible
- When and how to challenge the validity of resident documentation
- How to avoid fair housing violations when conducting eviction proceedings
Provisions & exclusions
The CDC order prohibits removing renters with documented eligibility from their housing during the moratorium period. It does NOT:
- Prohibit evictions for reasons other than nonpayment of rent, such as criminal activity
- Relieve renters of their obligation to pay rent
- Prohibit the charging of late fees or other penalties due to nonpayment
- Preempt more protective state or local laws
- Prohibit the filing of eviction proceedings
The CFPB’s final rule, effective May 3, 2021, requires landlords seeking to evict residents for non-payment of rent to provide “clear and conspicuous notice” that the resident may be eligible for temporary protection from eviction under the CDC Moratorium. Sample language can be found at the end of this Notification Letter issued by the CFPB. Notice must be provided in writing on the same day as the eviction notice or on the date that the eviction action is filed if no eviction notice is required by law.
To receive protection under the eviction moratorium, residents must submit a signed declaration of eligibility. Residents are not required to use the CDC form; however, documentation must include all of the information on the CDC form and must be in writing. Housing providers may challenge the validity of a renter’s declaration in any state or municipal court. It is advised that companies use consistent, documented criteria for challenges to avoid discrimination charges.
Tools for success
The best legal counsel and operational planning do little to reduce your risk if you’re not arming your front-line employees with the knowledge and skills they need to perform compliantly. Download Reopening Multifamily: Essential Training & Policies to ensure your employees have access to the most critical policies and training for today’s post-COVID environment.